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DULUTH, Ga. – Georgia credit unions came in for some special TV exposure last month in a statewide Public Broadcasting System show requested by Georgia Credit Union Affiliates as a way to help pump up the CU message. “This was a great vehicle to present a favorable impression of credit unions to the public,” explained Cindy Connelly, senior vice president-advocacy for the Georgia League. Appearing on the 30-minute “Georgia Business Report” July 23 was Mike Mercer, president/CEO of the League, who was interviewed by Richard Warner, a PBS moderator, acting as co-host. The topics ranged from the structure of CUs, the differences between banks and CUs and the steps to take in joining a CU. “We’ve always done lots of radio but not that much TV, so this was an excellent means of reaching out to the public,” said Connelly noting the while her boss “is excellent as a spokesman for credit unions, he hasn’t appeared a whole lot on TV.” M.J. Kabaci, public relations specialist for the League, said she got the idea to request an appearance since she and her husband are regular viewers of the show which airs every Friday and covers business and financial news plus economic forecasts, workforce developments and industry profiles. “According to the producers,” said Kabaci, “women are the primary demographic of the show, so we hoped it encouraged them, as businesswomen, to learn more about the benefits of credit union membership and make it available for themselves and their employees.” Kabaci said she had written the Georgia PBS producers in June and within a month had received approval for Mercer to appear. The show was aired on the nine stations that make up the PBS network in the state. In his remarks, Mercer cited the coop nature of CUs, noting that members receive “more than $6 billion in tangible benefits according to CUNA, distributed in lower loan rates, higher savings and lower fees.” Mercer told viewers that there are 210 CUs in the state with $12 billion in assets serving 1.8 million members, and he estimated that 90% of Georgians are eligible to join at least one CU. Warner, the interviewer, asked Mercer to describe specific products offered at CUs and exactly how people could join a CU, said Connelly. Mercer also gave a plug for CU Match Up, a search engine on the League Website that helps identify CUs for potential members. Kabaci said Georgia CEOs were alerted to the time and date of the show and so far reaction from the public has been “slow,” though League officials stress that this is a long-term media project. One individual who did watch the show was NCUA Region 3 Director Alonzo Swan, who happened to be in the League offices after the airing and remarked that he is a regular viewer. “There was lots of kidding about Mike putting on his makeup,” laughed Connelly. “It was a great opportunity for us to have this kind of program aired,” said Connelly. It was uncertain when or if there would be a repeat anytime soon. – [email protected]

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